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MultiAir and the two 2.4 engines

by David Zatz on

Analysis. A sampling of automotive journalists recently examined a Chrysler vehicle with the 2.4 liter engine. Nearly all of them were puzzled by the “MultiAir” printed on it, and some asked whether this was the same 2.4 used in the Patriot and Compass. One confidently said it was confusing that both the Fiat and Chrysler engines were the 2.4s.

Since automotive journalists probably know more about cars in general than the average person, it may be worthwhile to go back to the 2.4 liter engines in all their splendor.

2.4 liter multiair engine

The first Chrysler 2.4 liter four-cylinder was launched on the 1996 minivans; essentially a long-stroke version of the Neon 2.0 engine, it was a satisfying powerplant for the time, matching the Mitsubishi 3.0 liter V6 in horsepower and coming very close in torque. Smooth in naturally aspirated form and powerful with a turbocharger (Neon SRT4 and GT Cruiser), the engine seemed to have a long life ahead of it. Until…

Daimler’s machinations brought Chrysler the new “World [Gas] Engine” (WGE). It started out at Hyundai, which Daimler rather foolishly thought they could bring into their empire; DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi reportedly did a good deal of re-engineering, then each company went off and developed their own heads, fuel and ignition systems, and “dressings.” The Chrysler version was criticized for being “peaky” and noisy, and reviews here at Allpar refer to it as sounding like a sewing machine (in the Dodge Caliber). It was refined over the years and, in the Chrysler 200 and current Patriot/Compass, is not disappointing.

The second generation of the 2.4 liter engine was started when Fiat gained control of Chrysler. Adding the MultiAir system was probably the most significant change, but there were others. This “TigerShark” engine is only available, for now, in the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee.

MultiAir is Fiat’s variable valve timing and lift technology, whose main advantage seems to be having separate timing for each cylinder. With MultiAir, a solenoid is energized with each rotation of the camshaft, controlling oil flow to actuators which control valve timing and lift (from completely closed to completely open). Expensive but efficient, MultiAir was adapted to Chrysler’s 2.4 liter engine; the 2.0 liter version of this engine retains the cam phasing/dual-VVT system.

Chrysler 2.4 liter engines have, until recently, all been built in Dundee, Michigan; there is now another assembly line in Trenton, Michigan, and yet another near Saltillo, Mexico. The engines have always been a bit of a mix in terms of engineering origins, and replacing the valve timing system with MultiAir does not change that, except to replace a bit of Germany with a bit of Italy.

Chrysler does not use any Fiat engines other than the 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the Dodge Dart Aero, and the diesel engine in the Ram ProMaster. The company uses VM diesels as well; VM is now owned by Fiat, and has changed hands many times since the old Chrysler Corporation started using its powerplants.

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